Whitewater Rafting and Kayaking

The American River has every kind of water you could want: open lakes, calm stretches of flatwater, and whitewater that ranges from thrilling to exhilarating to world-class daredevil.

If you’re eager to tackle the rapids, and are new to whitewater river boating, your best bet is to take a commercial trip with an outfitter. They’ll provide the equipment, including safety gear and meals, and guides who can take you from novice to eager intermediate. If you have some experience with boats, or just like learning by doing, you can rent equipment. You can also find instructors who will teach you everything from how to paddle a canoe on a quiet lake to run rapids in a raft or kayak.

Follow the links below for more information:

Commercial Whitewater Rafting – Whether you’re heading for the North, Middle or South fork of the American, you can choose from a number of experienced outfitters and a variety of trips. This section is aimed at those seeking guided, fully serviced adventures, though some of the information can be used by private boaters as well.

Whitewater Private Boaters – This section focuses on kayaking, the highly maneuverable watercraft which are the most popular choice for those who want to paddle their own, but canoeists and private rafters will also find useful information.

Recreational Paddling

Recreational (Flatwater) Paddling – The American is more than crashing rapids. Upstream and downstream of the turbulence, you will find lakes and long, beautiful stretches of calm river. Many spots are just perfect for easy day trips, fishing, and just enjoying the Sierra Nevada footfills.

Off-River Recreation

As much fun as there is to be had on the river, the American offers even more. A year of great adventure can be enjoyed and you never need get your feet wet.

The El Dorado National Forest covers much of the river’s watershed; within the forest is Desolation Wilderness, the Auburn State Recreation Area, and other national- and state-designated areas providing wonderful outdoor recreation opportunities.